An engaging consideration of happy accidents and lucky environmental mistakes.

THE LOST FOREST

Human error works for the greater good in this engaging true tale of an old-growth forest getting the last laugh.

How do you misplace something that was never truly lost? To answer that question, consider the case of the Lost Forty. In 1785 the Continental Congress declared that the United States be surveyed as it expanded, so in 1882, Josiah R. King and his crew surveyed three townships in Minnesota. Yet it wasn’t until 1958 that someone figured out that King had made a mistake. On the maps, King had listed a patch of old-growth forest as part of Coddington Lake. By the time the mistake was detected, loggers had avoided the area and the trees were part of the Chippewa National Forest. (The text falsely implies that this means they are “protected forever,” although logging does take place in national forests.) The book takes care to mention that the survey of Minnesota could only occur after “most of the land had been taken from Native people” because “the government of the United States wanted [it].” Bowen’s art alternates between thick, deep hues and light, winsome watercolors, but an aesthetically jarring typeface mars the overall design. Additional information about old-growth forests and where to find them, as well as the details of surveying, rounds out the book.

An engaging consideration of happy accidents and lucky environmental mistakes. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8166-9796-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness.

THE BRAIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

An introduction to the lead guitar and vocalist for the Brainiacs—the human brain.

The brain (familiar to readers of Seluk’s “The Awkward Yeti” webcomic, which spun off the adult title Heart and Brain, 2015) looks like a dodgeball with arms and legs—pinkish, sturdy, and roundish, with a pair of square-framed spectacles bestowing an air of importance and hipness. Other organs of the body—tongue, lungs, stomach, muscle, and heart—are featured as members of the brain’s rock band (the verso of the dust jacket is a poster of the band). Seluk’s breezy, conversational prose and brightly colored, boldly outlined cartoon illustrations deliver basic information. The brain’s role in keeping the heart beating and other automatic functions, directing body movements, interpreting sights and sounds, remembering smells and tastes, and regulating sleep and hunger are all explained, prose augmented by dialogue balloons and information sidebars. Seluk points out, importantly, that feelings originate in the brain: “You can control how you react…but your feelings happen no matter what.” The parodied album covers on the front endpapers (including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Green Day, Run DMC, Queen, Nirvana) will amuse parents—or at least grandparents—and the rear endpapers serve up band members’ clever social media and texting screenshots. Backmatter includes a glossary and further brain trivia but no resources or bibliography.

A good overview of this complex, essential organ, with an energetic seasoning of silliness. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-16700-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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